Age UK is today launching our campaign ahead of the General Election, asking parliamentary candidates from all parties to become ‘Age Champions’ and political parties to support our vision that by the end of the next Parliament the UK is a truly great place to grow older.
Acting on the campaign’s calls would make a difference to the lives of millions of older people up and down the country. 1.6 million older people are still living in poverty, despite Britain being the 6th richest country in the world. 1 million older people haven’t spoken to anyone for a month, resulting in loneliness and isolation which is not only miserable, but has serious consequences for a person’s health too.
There are 870,000 people in our country who do not receive the care and support they so badly need. 25,000 older people die unnecessarily each year because of the cold during winter. 44% of older people miss out on the benefits of being online, which can exclude them from vital services. So while we know that we all have the potential to make the UK a great place to grow older, there’s a long way to go yet.
Each of these concerning statistics reflect the five key ‘pillars’ that we believe the next Government needs to act on in the coming 5 years of the next Parliament. We are calling for the next Government to work for a Britain where everyone in later life;
- has opportunities to enjoy life and feel well
- feels safe, comfortable and secure at home
- has enough money to live on
- can participate in society and be valued for their contribution
- has access to quality health and care services
All politics is local, as the famous saying goes. Never is that more true than during the doorstep canvassing in villages, towns and cities ahead of a General Election. So the main advocates for the campaign will rightly be our supporters across the country, contacting their local parliamentary candidates to ask them to become ‘Age Champions’. Alongside this, many local Age UKs – our network of 167 independent charities – will also be holding ‘a great place to grow older’ hustings with local candidates to discuss the issues which matter most to older people, and what the candidates and their parties will do to address these.
We hope that politicians from all parties act on these requests and recognise the importance of these issues. There is the chance in the next 5 years to truly make Britain a great place to grow older, and in doing so reduce poverty, poor health and isolation of so many people in our country.
To find out more about the campaign and to download a copy of our A great place to grow older manifesto please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/votelaterlife